Aztec Aesthetics: Historical Reconstructions and Contemporary Cultural Recovery Movements

Author(s): Kristina Nielsen

Year: 2017


Since the 1960s, Mexicayotl communities––or communities focused on Mexican Indigenous revivalism––have pursued an Indigenous cultural recovery. In the United States, these efforts have gained traction among Danza Azteca communities who increasingly employ pre-Hispanic flutes, rattles, and other Mesoamerican instruments in their rituals and performances. Danza Azteca communities have drawn on lines of inquiry that parallel those of Robert Stevenson (1968: 17, 18), including the study of archaeological artifacts; the study of texts, documents, and iconography from Central Mexico; and the study of contemporary practices in Indigenous communities that are viewed as survivals from pre-Hispanic times. In this paper, I outline contemporary methodologies employed by these communities that have resulted in discourses parallel to those in music archaeology. Drawing on nearly two years of fieldwork with the Los Angeles Danza Azteca community, I examine the intersection of reconstruction as an academic historical study vis-à-vis recovery. This paper offers insight into the growing phenomena of an "Aztec aesthetic" and highlights shared challenges faced by archaeologists and Danza Azteca communities.

Cite this Record

Aztec Aesthetics: Historical Reconstructions and Contemporary Cultural Recovery Movements. Kristina Nielsen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431098)

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Music Recovery

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16990